Getting Unmasked


Did you ever wear one of those plastic masks at Halloween when you were a child?  Were you Cinderella – Batman – Superman – Snow White? It was so fun to go shopping for a costume! “Who do I want to be this year?  I remember searching through the racks of costumes for the perfect one.  Some years I was disappointed because my hero was sold out and I had to settle for a different costume than the one I really wanted.

I saw some childhood masks at an antique store this week.  God started breathing.  Take off your mask.” 

It is fun hiding behind a mask.  Will anyone be able to guess who I am? If my costume is good enough, I might impress a lot of people as I go door to door.  They might give me more candy – more sweet stuff.  I will make them laugh and smile as they try to guess who is behind my mask”.

We all learn early in life that masks are important.  We share part of our heart with someone and they reject it.  They tell us who they think we should be.  So we begin to build our masks.  We figure out who people say we should be.  We add that to our masks.  Throughout the years, the layers on our mask gets thicker and thicker.  Living behind a mask is safe.  If you reject my mask, it won’t hurt because the mask is just my facade.  The real me, the hidden person, is underneath the layers somewhere.  The problem is, many times we lose touch with that hidden person.  We get so accustomed to wearing the masks that we forget how uncomfortable they really are.  We lose sight of the fact that we are sweating underneath the mask.  We almost forget that the mask is tight and binding.

This morning as I read 1 Peter, a phrase jumped off the page at me. “Hidden person of the heart”.  Yes, there is a person hidden within all of us. A person we have learned to hide.  A person behind our mask.  Yet Peter says that the hidden person has an effect on those we are in relationship with.  The reality is that no matter how hard we try to hide our heart, no matter how hard we try to deny it, it still is there creating a climate in our lives.

Here is my translation of 1 Peter 3:3-4

When you get ready to present yourself to your husband and the world, don’t forget to be concerned about your heart for it is not your outward appearance that makes an eternal effect on others, but rather it is the beauty that proceeds from your private world – the inward, secret, concealed places of your heart – your thoughts and feelings.  Even though you may try to conceal your heart, it has a real impact on others. As a matter of fact, the beauty of your heart is extremely valuable and expensive in God’s sight.  Your ability to face life with a heart that is gentle and undisturbed is so intoxicatingly beautiful that it can draw your husband and others to God.

Our private world, the one we think is hidden, actually is very powerful in its effect on people. 

When I get ready for my day, I take the time to fix my hair and put on makeup.  It’s a great thing to do. Peter wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t care about our outward appearance. He was saying God switches the price tags. Internal is more valuable than external.   He literally says that our inner beauty is “extremely expensive” in God’s sight. We are more comfortable presenting our outward selves to the world.  Advertisers spend millions to tell us how important our outward beauty is.  We learn early in life that we can be accepted or rejected based upon how we look.  So we learn to try to look good.  We learn how important it is to have a mask.  Masks are made to hide who we really are from others.  We learn to feel safer behind our masks.  They are not only physical.  Masks come in many different forms.  Jobs, education, achievements, bigger and better houses, new cars.  Not bad things in and of themselves.  Just bad masks.

Unmasked living.  Living from the heart.  Risking rejection from others who don’t value our hidden person.   Gently bringing out our heart from its hidden place so we can connect with the heart of others.   It is extremely valuable to God.  Our God who doesn’t need our stuff.  He says that my heart and your heart are extremely valuable to Him.  We are naked before Him.  He is just waiting for us to know it.

“Take your mask off.”

Maybe that was what made Jesus so irresistible to sinners.  He was a real man – full of God- who could laugh, cry, be angry.  A man unmasked.  A man who came to show us how to live. Abundant life. Life unmasked.

As I take off my mask today, he smiles as he rejoices in the real me.  He sweetly rewards me. He knows that as I become comfortable in my own skin, my realness, that it will be intoxicatingly irresistible to everyone who is hungry for someone real.

Will you take off your mask today?

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